By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) could be the toughest test yet for West Virginia (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) when the teams tangle here Saturday night.
The Sooners, ranked No. 13 in the Associated Press poll, have been installed as 10-point favorites. The Big 12 Conference game is set to start at 7 o’clock.
Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s second-year head coach, has coached against Oklahoma several times as he has with most teams in this league.
It shapes up as a huge challenge against the Mountaineers, who are trying to break a four-game losing streak.
Holgorsen said, “We’re trying to get better then we were last week and the week before that. We’re just trying to improve and get a win.
“You get your guys ready to play and get them excited (for the opportunity). It’s a challenge for us every week.”
This will be the fifth meeting between the two institutions. The series stands at 2-2. WVU won 41-27 at Oklahoma in the 1982 season opener and again 48-28 in the Jan. 1, 2008 Fiesta Bowl.
The late Bill Stewart was interim WVU head coach for that second upset victory.
“Oklahoma has such a storied football program over the past 100 years,” Holgorsen said. “It’s tremendous the things they have been able to accomplish.
“They have tremendous history. They’ve been able to win several championships and stuff like that.”
As a result, Holgorsen thinks people would want to see this game.
“They have a great defensive coach,” he said. “We’re excited to get out there for opportunities and make some plays. We’ll put guys in position to make plays.”
Just because he’s seen the Sooners in a lot of games, he doesn’t think that gives him an advantage in this game.
“They know more about our offensive schemes probably then we know about their defensive schemes,” Holgorsen said. “Their defense isn’t tricky by any stretch of the imagination.
“But executing against it, based on the familiarity, it will be a challenge to our players.”
Holgorsen paid tall tribute to the Oklahoma team. He said:
“They have tremendous athletes, tremendous football players. They’ve got big guys up front that do a great job against the run.
“They have six or seven coverage guys who can all cover. So there will be one-on-one matchups all over the place. We’ve got to try to do a good job of winning some of those.”
He believes his team has just got to be ready and go out there and do the best they can.
“We’re looking for bodies that play with a tremendous amount of energy,” Holgorsen concluded.